Over the past twenty years Jason Dodge has been producing sculptures and exhibitions that speak of absence, distance, haptic and visual perception. His work is often compared to poetry and, like much poetry, demands the reader or viewer to be present and to look into themselves as conduits of meaning. By reading a poem or a sculpture something new is made. Dodge says “it is not what something means that is important, it is how something means”. His works are not meant to be deciphered, but are rather machines for deciphering.
The sculptures in Via Mottalciata are made of existing things: coats, computers, tables, lights, glasses and items of mysterious origin, large baskets made by a blind basketmaker, shoes for someone with three feet, doors for wild animals to roam the gallery. Many of the sculptures are made in repetition, creating different constellations throughout the exhibition like hands of cards from the same deck. Meanings, values and readings change, repeat and combine.
In the gallery space of Piazza Carignano Dodge has realised a work consisting of scattered detritus collected through out the world, as he puts it “the things that fall off of us while we are busy living”, an abundance of letters and logos, handwriting and littered things, containers and colors.
One becomes aware when in the presence of this work of the countless lives that intersected these thousands of things. What does it mean to keep what was left behind? The words oranges, bread, milk written on a shopping list, items remembered, bought and consumed, a telephone book filled with the names of many residents of a city, an empty jar of creme absorbed into the skin of a stranger long ago and far away. Like much of Dodge’s work there is an emotional tension between the presence of absence, and the absence of presence.